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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

localized posted:

I will be attending one of the East Coast academies at the end of the summer. I was on the fence about whether to go engineering or deck, but I ultimately decided to apply for the deck program. What you are saying and what I have heard from friends is that there is a greater demand for engineers. But I guess that doesnt mean that the job market is going to be the same four or five years from now anyways.

I don't know about the American job market specifically. The worldwide job market has a gigantic shortage of both deck and engine officers, and that's not going away anytime soon.

That said, Engineers will always be more in demand simply because there are more jobs ashore for them, at power plants and the like.

Two Finger posted:

Out of curiosity what makes you decide to go for deck?
Engines not really your thing or what?

Enjoys sunlight?

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localized
Mar 30, 2008


Two Finger posted:

Out of curiosity what makes you decide to go for deck?
Engines not really your thing or what?

I love engines and industrial stuff, but as FrozenVent said I would rather be outside than cooped up in the bottom. I am thinking I am going to do a minor in the engineering side so I can have experience in both departments. The guy who I interviewed with at the academy said I could always switch my major anyways, and my sister's boyfriend who is also a deckie said your first semster is the same for everyone anyways.

Do you guys get your work through unions or do you search out work on your own?

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

localized posted:

I love engines and industrial stuff, but as FrozenVent said I would rather be outside than cooped up in the bottom. I am thinking I am going to do a minor in the engineering side so I can have experience in both departments. The guy who I interviewed with at the academy said I could always switch my major anyways, and my sister's boyfriend who is also a deckie said your first semster is the same for everyone anyways.

I don't know about your program, but there was no loving way to do a minor in the one I did. The navigation (Or nautical science, or maritime transportation, or whatever the gently caress your school calls it - Filling the boat and pointing it the right way) curriculum is just too dense to fit anything else in there. Same with engineering, except worst. Of course, every school is different.

But yeah, as far as I know a lot of American schools have both programs do some coursework together in the beginning. We didn't, it was straight up "This is a rope! This is how you tie a rope!" from the beginning, while the engineers had "This is a wrench! This is how you turn a wrench! Now let's calculate the exact amount of tension being exerted at every centimeter of the wrench!"

"I wanna be outside" isn't a valid reason to chose engineering, btw. Engineers are much, much more versatile in their qualifications and more in demand. They also deal with less paperwork BS, and stupid as gently caress overtime. You still have time to change your major, so consider it carefully, and keep in mind that only about 5% of your classmates will ever make Captain. If that. (You know that old "Look at the student on your right. Look at the student on your left. Only one of you three will graduate this program" shtick? They didn't do that when I started, but out of a matriculating class of 60, 23 graduated.)

In any case, marine engineering can be a very good and fullfilling career, no matter what I say. If I had to start over again, I'd think long and hard about it. Then probably still go deck, because the coursework is easier, and gently caress effort.

There's also many days where I loving wish I was inside, in the engine room, where it's warm and there's light and no loving snow in my buttcrack.

localized posted:

Do you guys get your work through unions or do you search out work on your own?

Depends on the country. In theory, my union is supposed to find me work, but in practice I just start calling companies when I get bored. Those calls vary from "Hi, I'm Frozenvent, I have this license and this much experience, here's my number. Would you like a copy of my resume?" to "Hey, this is Frozenvent, I'm looking, call me back." It really depends on if they need someone RIGHT NOW. Facebook can also help, surprisingly.

Generally, the time elapsed from "Yeah, I should get back to work" to "Alright, I got the conn" is 6 - 10 days. There's also the dreaded rush call, where you get woken up at the ungodly hour of 10 AM by a sweet-voiced HR rep who's wondering if you had plan for that week... (Spoiler: You no longer do, unless you were planning to be on a boat within 72 hours.)

We used to joke that holding a crayon in your fist and writing "I HAZ CHIEF MATE LICENSE GIMME JOB" on a blank sheet of paper and sending that in as a resume was enough... I honnestly got what became my first job as an officer with a cover letter asking the HR representative to give me a job, so I wouldn't have to go back to my soul-killing previous job, and I'd heard they had dental, and my molar really hurts. Now, with the economy, you have to type everything and use grammar and poo poo.

Don't worry about finding a job yet, tho. (Chances are, the job will find YOU. It certainly found me after I graduated...)

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angryhampster
Oct 21, 2005



For the type of work (stressful, long hours, away from family for long periods), is the pay worth it? Would would an entry-level deckhand be making?

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Aug 4, 2007


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localized posted:

I love engines and industrial stuff, but as FrozenVent said I would rather be outside than cooped up in the bottom. I am thinking I am going to do a minor in the engineering side so I can have experience in both departments. The guy who I interviewed with at the academy said I could always switch my major anyways, and my sister's boyfriend who is also a deckie said your first semster is the same for everyone anyways.

Do you guys get your work through unions or do you search out work on your own?

I'm not sure about where you're studying but the Dutch academies do a joint engine/deck qualification. You could ask your master/chief engineer when you get on board if you could spend two weeks on the bridge/engine room.

I got my cadetship through my school - a representative came down to interview us and I was one of the ones he picked. Some of my other classmates had to search out their own jobs and do all their own legwork.

FrozenVent posted:

There's also many days where I loving wish I was inside, in the engine room, where it's warm and there's light and no loving snow in my buttcrack.

Warm isn't really the word I would have picked, not sure about other ships but our engine room tended to sit between 45 and 55 degrees centigrade. gently caress Panama.

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localized
Mar 30, 2008


Two Finger posted:

I'm not sure about where you're studying but the Dutch academies do a joint engine/deck qualification. You could ask your master/chief engineer when you get on board if you could spend two weeks on the bridge/engine room.

I got my cadetship through my school - a representative came down to interview us and I was one of the ones he picked. Some of my other classmates had to search out their own jobs and do all their own legwork.


Warm isn't really the word I would have picked, not sure about other ships but our engine room tended to sit between 45 and 55 degrees centigrade. gently caress Panama.

Yea, if dual licenses were offered stateside I would be all over that. I wont be shipping as a cadet for a couple of years though. The first and third year at the academy you cruise on the school's training ship, while your second year you ship as a cadet.

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lightpole
Jun 4, 2004


In the US I was under the impression that the deck side of things is quite crowded while the engine side has a little more room to find a job. Aside from better job prospects you will also have an easier time moving to a shore side job if you ever want to stop sailing. Right out of college I was able to get jobs paying $30-$45/hr on shore, basically making 6 figures on shore right out of school due to contract structure. Deck cannot do that.

I find my work through unions or simply networking for the most part. If you are interested in a particular company you need to do your research and go to the job fairs and stuff for it. During the recession jobs have been more difficult to find but there is always something decent out there.


angryhampster it depends on what country you are in. An OS in the US I think would make around $5k a month but Im not sure. I would say if you are young and want to make money and have a lot of time off its worth it. If you are older with a family you should stay home unless you are starving and your wife left you and took the kids.

Dual licenses used to be offered, I know Kings Point offered them but has stopped. The only way to go now is to get a mates license with a QMED rating, Cal Maritime still offers this option but its a lot of work. I have a friend who sails MMP and then heads over to the MFOW and grabs work. It works for him since jobs arent easy to get in MMP and they might not pay well while he has enough time for his 3rd A/E and a decent amount of cash from MFOW.

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kdabr
Feb 17, 2011


So what does a daily schedule aboard one of these ships look like? And how's the food?

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Nov 16, 2005



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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

angryhampster posted:

For the type of work (stressful, long hours, away from family for long periods), is the pay worth it? Would would an entry-level deckhand be making?

An entry level ordinary seaman in Canada makes something like 6 - 9K a month, depending on overtime and that probationary pay thing they've got.

As to wether it's worth it... Heh, it depends. I don't have a familly and I'm single () so 60K a year with six months off is not bad. I've heard it compared to being in jail. You decide if it's worth it.

kdabr posted:

So what does a daily schedule aboard one of these ships look like? And how's the food?

The two most common watch schedules are 4 on, 8 off or six and six. Plus overtime, of course. I'd say an average work day is easily around 11 hours if you're on 4/8/4, usually around 12 hours if you're on 6/6. There's the occasional sixteen hour day, of course.

The food... Heh. It ranges from "Five star restaurant" to "I'm gonna buy Kraft Dinner next time we make port", with the average in my experience being somewhere around "high school cafeteria" There's usually plenty of it, tho.

There have been cases of crewmembers having pizza delivered via the pilot launch, however. Make of that what you will.

somethingawesomer posted:

I try not to think of all the horrible things that can happen to her on a ship.

You sound like my mother. Your girlfriend's safe, she has access to laundry, and she eats her fill every day the cook doesn't gently caress up. Calm down.

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lightpole
Jun 4, 2004


FrozenVent posted:

You sound like my mother. Your girlfriend's safe, she has access to laundry, and she eats her fill every day the cook doesn't gently caress up. Calm down.

From my experience with academy girls and his whining Im betting she is twice the man he is.

A steam ship will usually run a watch schedule of 4 on 8 off but you usually get 4 hours of OT during whatever 8-4 time you dont have watch.

On diesel ships you will usually have an 8-5 schedule with 15-30 minute coffee breaks at 10 and 1500 and a 1 hour lunch from 12-13. This can vary depending on what your chief/1st wants.

Its not hard to live anywhere you want working out of the union hall. As a group 3 MEBA 3rd it can be difficult but once you are able to pick up Sealand/Horizon jobs and you have a 2nds you can live where-ever you want. Working out of the union hall you kinda have an idea of when you are going to ship out as well, unless a friend calls you up and tells you when to be in the hall cause a job is coming in you want.

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goku chewbacca
Dec 14, 2002


I'm not really understanding completely with all the acronyms and maritime jargon and various education and career paths and positions.

Let's say I'm not interested in going to any more university, but wouldn't object to a couple of years of technical education. On the job would be even better...through a walk-on apprenticeship and then sitting for exams and certifications sounds perfect. How soon can I be making $US60-70k? What does it take to make $100k+? Where does it top out after that? Do the captains get to keep smoking hot wives in every port?

Sounds like its more common to find short contracts, return home, then find your next job when you're feeling bored/broke. Is it uncommon to be employed permanently with the same company, or the same ship and crew? It also sounds like a significant portion of the year is spent not working. Despite all the down time, are the salaries so high because you're paid hourly and working so much overtime?

Home base for me would be in northeast Pennsylvania, just under 2hours from NYC and Philly. Maybe 5 from Erie. What are the major port cities (for finding jobs) here in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region? How about the eastern Great Lakes?

Also, spending months on end in close quarters with the same (more likely) men sounds like it could be challenging. What's the social environment like? Please don't be offended, but I imagine reactionary conservative blue-collar types are common. Would women, minorities, gays, or people with non-conforming beliefs/personalities find the environment confrontational and uncomfortable?

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Aug 4, 2007


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lightpole posted:

From my experience with academy girls and his whining Im betting she is twice the man he is.
There is no doubt about that. There's a total of one girl in my class and we all thought that she was a man for a week or two, and she's also better in the workshop than almost all of us.

lightpole posted:

On diesel ships you will usually have an 8-5 schedule with 15-30 minute coffee breaks at 10 and 1500 and a 1 hour lunch from 12-13. This can vary depending on what your chief/1st wants.
Yeah, on my ship I worked a six hour watch and usually 5-6 hours of overtime. The midday-6pm watch is the best one.

goku chewbacca posted:

Let's say I'm not interested in going to any more university, but wouldn't object to a couple of years of technical education. On the job would be even better...through a walk-on apprenticeship and then sitting for exams and certifications sounds perfect. How soon can I be making $US60-70k? What does it take to make $100k+? Where does it top out after that? Do the captains get to keep smoking hot wives in every port?
Offshore supply is probably what you want to look at if you want the big money, that or oil and gas. Generally engineers make more at the lower ranks, I think you have to hit master or chief officer level to equal with your equivalent engineer. Correct me if I'm wrong.

goku chewbacca posted:

Also, spending months on end in close quarters with the same (more likely) men sounds like it could be challenging. What's the social environment like? Please don't be offended, but I imagine reactionary conservative blue-collar types are common. Would women, minorities, gays, or people with non-conforming beliefs/personalities find the environment confrontational and uncomfortable?
I had no trouble with it. Honestly, you judge people more on their work ethic and how easy they are to chat to rather than their beliefs or whatever - you live and work in close environments so everyone just straight up understands that you have to get on or it's gonna be real uncomfortable for everyone. Cruise ships are a bit of an exception because of how large the crew is - that leads to a lot of cliques forming.

FrozenVent posted:

An entry level ordinary seaman in Canada makes something like 6 - 9K a month, depending on overtime and that probationary pay thing they've got.
If you want good money, don't go cruise. The pay is a LOT less there. There are women, though.

FrozenVent posted:

The food... Heh. It ranges from "Five star restaurant" to "I'm gonna buy Kraft Dinner next time we make port", with the average in my experience being somewhere around "lovely high school cafeteria" There's usually plenty of it, tho.

There have been cases of crewmembers having pizza delivered via the pilot launch, however. Make of that what you will.
That rules, seriously. The food in general was pretty average on my ship, everything was cooked in butter or oil and it was pretty drat repetitive after about the first two weeks. Whenever we went to San Diego I'd eat three or four meals while I was ashore.

FrozenVent posted:

You sound like my mother. Your girlfriend's safe, she has access to laundry, and she eats her fill every day the cook doesn't gently caress up. Calm down.
Backing this up... You've got absolutely nothing to be worried about.

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

goku chewbacca posted:

I'm not really understanding completely with all the acronyms and maritime jargon and various education and career paths and positions.

Most of the acronyms are American unions, I don't know what the gently caress either.

goku chewbacca posted:

Let's say I'm not interested in going to any more university, but wouldn't object to a couple of years of technical education. On the job would be even better...through a walk-on apprenticeship and then sitting for exams and certifications sounds perfect. How soon can I be making $US60-70k? What does it take to make $100k+? Where does it top out after that? Do the captains get to keep smoking hot wives in every port?

There's no "Walk in apprentice" in most companies, you just magically turn into an ordinary seaman. A very incompetent one, but that's not your fault really... The system is broken. Be prepared to chip, paint, shovel and eat poo poo of every form for a few years. It takes at least four years from that to get a license, but a lot of people end up staying at the OS level... It IS possible to make 70K at that level, if you're working tons of overtime. IE, the Great Lakes.

100K is usually at the Chief Mate level and up. You can have a hot wife in every port if you want, they charge about 100$ an hour. Bring your own condoms.

goku chewbacca posted:

Sounds like its more common to find short contracts, return home, then find your next job when you're feeling bored/broke. Is it uncommon to be employed permanently with the same company, or the same ship and crew?

It's common in a way - They're called permanent positions. It just takes year to get one, because you have to wait for someone to die. I think the average age here slants young.

To give you an idea, I've been shipping out as an officer for three and a half years, and I was offered a permanent position once last year, in a desperate bid by the company to fill a berth.

goku chewbacca posted:

It also sounds like a significant portion of the year is spent not working. Despite all the down time, are the salaries so high because you're paid hourly and working so much overtime?

The hourly rates are good, even if you just get paid for the hours you actually work. The rest of your time on the boat is unpaid. You do have to work weekend, overtime and so on, so it adds up.

Salaries are high because, well, if I could make comparable money ashore working six months a year...

(Note: You can't work all year. I've met people who worked 9 - 10 months a year for a few years, it hosed them up seriously in the psychological sense.)

goku chewbacca posted:

Also, spending months on end in close quarters with the same (more likely) men sounds like it could be challenging. What's the social environment like? Please don't be offended, but I imagine reactionary conservative blue-collar types are common. Would women, minorities, gays, or people with non-conforming beliefs/personalities find the environment confrontational and uncomfortable?

You've got your conservative blue collar, your sports fan, your idiots, your liberals, name it. You don't see too many religious people, or if they are they keep it quiet. Gay, female, krishna, anime lover, neo-nazi, it's all ok as long as you don't make a loving show of it. I'm stuck with some guy for eight hours a day for a few months, I can only take so much blabbing and blabbing about the SS, you know?

As long as you respect your co-workers, keep your spergin' to yourself unless asked about it (Watches can get boring), have some sort of sense of humor and don't cause drama, anything goes. You can be a square peg as long as you don't stick up above the board, your know? Then you're just gonna be the thing people focus their irrational anger on, instead of the usuals (The food, the weather, their wife, whatever)

Eventually you develop "Boat social skills", as opposed to normal people social skills. These includes knowing which seat to take in the mess, how to disarm or cause a situation that would be reported as "Assault and death threat" ashore, and knowing what to say when you walk onto a bunch of dudes watching a porn video together.

lightpole posted:

From my experience with academy girls and his whining Im betting she is twice the man he is.

Yeah, I wonder what her reactions would be if she saw that post. HORRIBLE THINGS!

Also loving this:

quote:

It's not for everyone, pretty much everyone I know thinks I'm insane for putting up with all this.

While I understand the sentiment...

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Aug 4, 2007


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FrozenVent posted:

Eventually you develop "Boat social skills", as opposed to normal people social skills. These includes knowing which seat to take in the mess, how to disarm or cause a situation that would be reported as "Assault and death threat" ashore...

Yeah, I still laugh about the time the chief elec choked me out on the floor of the bar, but everyone I've told the story to back home thinks 1) i'm insane 2) he's a murderer. It was just a good laugh.

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

Two Finger posted:

Yeah, I still laugh about the time the chief elec choked me out on the floor of the bar, but everyone I've told the story to back home thinks 1) i'm insane 2) he's a murderer. It was just a good laugh.

"He Hurts Me Because He Loves Me: The Cadet's Manual"

Edit: By "Choked me out" do you mean until you actually passed out? Because if so, that might be a bit over the line.

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I think the lesson there is don't assume you can take someone on just because you're bigger than them, particularly not if they do a lot of jiu jitsu. But your answer is pretty good, too.

Edit: Nah, I tapped out eventually after realising I couldn't get out of it. Like I said, it was just a laugh.

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StopShootingMe
Jun 8, 2004

I can't believe I spent $5 on this title.

Australian industry first mate reporting. AusGoons with questions on the local industry ask away. It's a little different in terms of life aboard, and very different in terms of training and getting a job. Huge demand for people, though. That's the same.

I like the idea of having a dual engine/deck ticket, but I doubt I'd like going back to cadet wages for any period of time to make it happen

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

I'd definetly like to have more engineering knowledge, but I don't know how I'd feel about someone doing both jobs at the same time, or even alternatively... I've worked with enough idiots who could barely handle a single job.

But I guess at the 3rd Mate / 4th Engineer level, you're basically a highly trained monkey...

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Mercury Ballistic
Nov 14, 2005

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MSC Second mate here, about to resign and look for something else. Tired of being away for 4-5 months and not know when I am getting off as the office has no people. The pay is great (about 15K/month) but it is murder on your family/social life. Do a few years and find a normal job. I may stay at sea, but not for 8-9 months a year. I can answer deck/navigation questions.

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lightpole
Jun 4, 2004


goku chewbacca posted:

I'm not really understanding completely with all the acronyms and maritime jargon and various education and career paths and positions.

Let's say I'm not interested in going to any more university, but wouldn't object to a couple of years of technical education. On the job would be even better...through a walk-on apprenticeship and then sitting for exams and certifications sounds perfect. How soon can I be making $US60-70k? What does it take to make $100k+? Where does it top out after that? Do the captains get to keep smoking hot wives in every port?

Sounds like its more common to find short contracts, return home, then find your next job when you're feeling bored/broke. Is it uncommon to be employed permanently with the same company, or the same ship and crew? It also sounds like a significant portion of the year is spent not working. Despite all the down time, are the salaries so high because you're paid hourly and working so much overtime?

Home base for me would be in northeast Pennsylvania, just under 2hours from NYC and Philly. Maybe 5 from Erie. What are the major port cities (for finding jobs) here in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region? How about the eastern Great Lakes?

Also, spending months on end in close quarters with the same (more likely) men sounds like it could be challenging. What's the social environment like? Please don't be offended, but I imagine reactionary conservative blue-collar types are common. Would women, minorities, gays, or people with non-conforming beliefs/personalities find the environment confrontational and uncomfortable?


Most abbreviations are just unions/companies.

MSC - Military Sealift Command, US Gov.
MFOW - Marine Firemens, Oilers and Wipers Union
MEBA - Marine Engineers Beneficiary Association
AMO - American Merchant Officers
SIU - Sailors something Union
SUP - Sailors Union of the Pacific
MM&P - Masters, Mates and Pilots

Those are most of the US unions.

I would have to say schooling is the best way to go even though it sucks. I had quite a few people in my class who were older and had returned to school.

Job length depends. Union contracts are mostly 90-120 days before you have to get off in the first US port. I was on a "shuttle" so I stayed on for 180 days. Some of my friends sailing permanent are working 2 on 2 off or 3 on 3 off. Ask Mercury Ballistic about MSC's schedule. If you are looking for something specific you can probably find it.

On most ships you get paid so much because of the OT. My last ship I had a $27/hr base and OT was time and a half. I put in 1300 hours of OT over 189 days. Just remember that the more hours you put in the rougher it is on your body and your brain.

When you get on a ship you can either try and be a dick to everyone or just be chill and get along. I find its better to try and enjoy whatever you can since the situation is loving miserable anyways. Working with a lot of Filipinos and old guys you find common ground and figure out how to enjoy it. Most people just try to make the best of it but you still see some assholes.

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somethingawesomer
Nov 16, 2005



Regarding my post above, it's pretty much all the stuff she's told me (repeatedly..). I've obviously never been on these ships. The way she's described it to me is that it's very dangerous, people losing digits and stuff, falls, slips, and no doctors or anyone onboard??

I'm surprised to see how people describe it, she's always told me it's full of douchebags. Now I kind of feel like a tool for worrying so much.

Also, for the record, I am female.

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greenchair
Jan 30, 2008


What happens if someone gets really sick? Do you worry about pirates or have weapons on board? What if someone goes nuts, is there any kind of jail or something? How much living space is there, just your room and cafeteria or are there a lot of common areas or a gym or anything? Is there internet and are there many access points? Do you think that more amenities for crew members would be worth it to a shipping company because it'd make it easier to hire workers (and maybe not have to pay them as much?)?

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lightpole
Jun 4, 2004


greenchair posted:

What happens if someone gets really sick? Do you worry about pirates or have weapons on board? What if someone goes nuts, is there any kind of jail or something? How much living space is there, just your room and cafeteria or are there a lot of common areas or a gym or anything? Is there internet and are there many access points? Do you think that more amenities for crew members would be worth it to a shipping company because it'd make it easier to hire workers (and maybe not have to pay them as much?)?

The 2nd mate or one of the other mates is usually designated as the medical officer and has some medical training. They are supplemented by the company/medical offices shoreside if they run into a situation they need help with. Basic medical is pretty routine, the complicated stuff that calls for an evac means the ship is diverted (see my picture post in this thread) and the person is evaced. Ships have a medical bay with equipment to deal with small wounds/illness/whatever. Dead bodies are tossed in the freezer.

The main pirate region at the moment is the Red Sea out into the Indian Ocean. Pirates look for slow moving ships with low free-board so they have an easier time getting on board. I went through the region 6 times. The ship I was on had very high free-board (the deck was very high off the water) and we did 26+ knots through so we were not an easy target. There were pirate attacks just about every time I was in the region with the USMC storming a ship with a Ukrainian crew and having to cut through a bulkhead into the focsle and shove an american flag through to convince them they werent pirates. US flagged vessels do not carry weapons (some MSC ships might) although the Alabama carries a private security team now and others might as well.

If people lose it mentally they can be locked in their stateroom or some such measure and put under guard before being put off at the next port.

My staterooms are usually pretty large. Most ships will have an officers area and a crew area, 2 separate messes, 2 separate lounges. Most people chill out in their staterooms and watch movies or read. Theres a decent amount of socialization. Gyms can be hit or miss. Most entertainment stuff is not paid for by the company but put together out of a crew fund that comes from different sources. Email is usually available but it might be restricted in size and only go out several times a day.

Noone is sailing for the amenities, the only thing that matters is the paycheck.

Sorry somethingawesomer, sailors can be pretty strange as it is and the women that get into it are usually not normal. If you take shortcuts you can put yourself in dangerous situations but many of them are manageable. Ive never been asked to put myself in a situation I thought was a danger to myself or others. Anytime I have had safety concerns they have been addressed.

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Hit an Apex
Dec 2, 2004

Real Racing. Real Sport.

It seems like most of you are cargo.. why not go on passenger ships (cruise, ferry, ro-ro?) ?

Props for going to sea!

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

somethingawesomer posted:

Regarding my post above, it's pretty much all the stuff she's told me (repeatedly..). I've obviously never been on these ships. The way she's described it to me is that it's very dangerous, people losing digits and stuff, falls, slips, and no doctors or anyone onboard??

Losing fingers isn't that horrible by any sense of the word; nobody dies from that. If you're close enough to port, they can even be reattached... I'd say 10-20% of merchant seamen are missing a finger or part of one, or had one rebuilt surgically. It's big deal, and it thankfully doesn't even happen that often anymore. Never happened while I was around, anyway...

Slips and fall are a problem if you're not careful, but the worst that can come out of it is a bent back and a few months on your rear end ashore. It sucks, but it's not gonna kill you. The same thing could happen in a power plant ashore, it's the number 1 leading cause of workplace accidents.

As for the no doctor, as lightpole says, we have someone with medical training and we call for medical advice if something big comes up. (I have that training I got to stitch a piece of ham back together once.) There's even a code we can use if the doctor can't speak English. Plus if she's sailing up and down the coast of the US, she's never out of USCG helicopter range. Say what you want about the USCG, they got spiffy helicopters.

Fun fact: The International Code of Signal has a three letter code for "The patient has runny yellowish diarreah with feces ressembling rice water." It's MIP.

somethingawesomer posted:

I'm surprised to see how people describe it, she's always told me it's full of douchebags. Now I kind of feel like a tool for worrying so much.

It's full of douchebags, but we're NICE douchebags.

lightpole posted:

The 2nd mate or one of the other mates is usually designated as the medical officer and has some medical training. They are supplemented by the company/medical offices shoreside if they run into a situation they need help with.

We're supposed to be able to handle basic stuff and stabilize the casualty. There was always an urban legend going around school that they'd teach us to take out someone's appendix... Doctor just told us to stuff them full of antibiotics and hope for the best. We do have scalpels, retractors, catgut stitching kits and all that good stuff.

poo poo'd have to be pretty dire for me to cut someone open and start rooting around in there, tho.

lightpole posted:

If people lose it mentally they can be locked in their stateroom or some such measure and put under guard before being put off at the next port.

I was getting my safety familiarization on an overcrewed, not in an hurry ship once, and when we got to the hospital the third mate said, and I quote, "For those of you who have heard, THIS YEAR we will have a straitjacket."

I tried and tried to find out what the gently caress happened the previous year...

lightpole posted:

Sorry somethingawesomer, sailors can be pretty strange as it is and the women that get into it are usually not normal.

You're saying the men who get into it are normal?

Hit an Apex posted:

It seems like most of you are cargo.. why not go on passenger ships (cruise, ferry, ro-ro?) ?

Passengers ships: You have to wear a uniform and be nice to people, there's tons of office bullshit politics. Also, the pay sucks.

Ferry: Boooooo-riiiiiiiing. See also the comments on passengers ships.

Ro/Ro: Not common outside of Europe. Generally, Ro/RO are considered cargo vessels, btw.

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JerkyBunion
Jun 22, 2002



So I'm sure this has been asked but I'm going to anyway because I'm stupid and can't be bothered:

Say I got around 10-12 months to kill and I'm looking for something to do to be employed and get the gently caress out of dodge. I'm ok with horrible manual labor because whatever. A 6 month slave ship cruise sounds like it would at least get me out of town. I've never even seen the ocean. Never been on more than a lake boat.

What are my chances of finding a quick job on a ship and how would I go about it?

I'm sure it doesn't matter either but I have a Bachelor of Arts if that helps.

For reference, I've looked into working everywhere from Buddhist monasteries across the country to manual labor at the South Pole Station.

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

Miss Fats posted:

So I'm sure this has been asked but I'm going to anyway because I'm stupid and can't be bothered:

Say I got around 10-12 months to kill and I'm looking for something to do to be employed and get the gently caress out of dodge. I'm ok with horrible manual labor because whatever. A 6 month slave ship cruise sounds like it would at least get me out of town. I've never even seen the ocean. Never been on more than a lake boat.

What are my chances of finding a quick job on a ship and how would I go about it?

I'm sure it doesn't matter either but I have a Bachelor of Arts if that helps.

For reference, I've looked into working everywhere from Buddhist monasteries across the country to manual labor at the South Pole Station.

Try the cruise ship thread. If you have a bachelor's, you're qualified for youth or cruise staff, you could ship out inside of a couple of months.

As an actual seaman, the process is a bit more complex. Check out the OP, it explains why it's probably not worth it for a year. (EDIT: Wooops, I thought it did, I'll have to fix that.) You'd need six months just to get the paperwork and basic safety training in order, in my experience... And that doesn't guarantee you a job.

Alternatively, try dinner cruise companies and ferries near wherever you're living.

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lightpole
Jun 4, 2004


FrozenVent posted:

You're saying the men who get into it are normal?


Passengers ships: You have to wear a uniform and be nice to people, there's tons of office bullshit politics. Also, the pay sucks.

Ferry: Boooooo-riiiiiiiing. See also the comments on passengers ships.

Ro/Ro: Not common outside of Europe. Generally, Ro/RO are considered cargo vessels, btw.

There is one American flagged cruise ship that MEBA has. The pay is quite low but you work 8 months out of the year so you can get your group 1 card pretty fast which is pretty important.

Washington State Ferries are good jobs but they require certain courses for crowd control or something. Getting the required courses isnt that easy.

Sometimes you have to take the first job you can, sometimes you can wait for the money job or the ship you like or whatever.

I never said the men were normal. In an extremely masculine field with so many hosed up situations Ive found it takes a certain kind of female that wants to work in it.

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

lightpole posted:

Washington State Ferries are good jobs but they require certain courses for crowd control or something. Getting the required courses isnt that easy.

CMAT and HBCM? RCI was handing these out like candy when I was there, HBCM was a CBT, even... I forgot to claim my certificate, I felt bad about that exactly once.

Now that I think about it, my CMAT is going to be up in September. It's hard to believe it's been that long already...

(Most marine certification has to be renewed every five years; the nature of the college system makes it so that you end up having a shitload of crap to renew inside of a few months every five years.

Unless you get a new license before then )

...I still have to re-do first aid next year, tho. gently caress my life.

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Trench_Rat
Sep 19, 2006
Doing my duty for king and coutry since 86

how does the whole working through the union hall work? we dont have it here we are either hired by the company and work a set shift onboard or hired through a crewing company temporary.

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lightpole
Jun 4, 2004


AMO doesnt really use a union hall but most of the other unions do.

You go to the hall and register. You get a card stamped with the date you registered. As a new member you would be a group 3 or C card or something like that. At a certain time, 1200 or so for nationwide unions, the administrative people will post jobs on a board in the hall and people looking for work will put in their card. Group 1 or A members have priority and get first pick. If there are no cards or they dont want a job, it moves to group 2 or B or whatever. If there are still jobs then it moves to group 3. The oldest card of the group gets first pick and it works its way down to the newest. You need to make sure your paperwork is in order before looking for work though. Its important to get all your courses and medical and drug tests and union dues and whatever else you need done otherwise you will not be working. If all the jobs arent taken they are sent to the other halls and members there can take them.

There is also day/night work that goes out of the halls. Ships come in to port and either need people to work during the day, assisting with piston pulls, cleaning, doing whatever maintenance the crew cant handle or need someone to stand watch to cover for the ships engineers. The jobs are usually for 8 hours and pay the OT rate so you can make quite a bit of money but the downside is you are paid the same if you are working holidays or OT. If the ship is late or sails early you are still paid for your 8 hours. There are quite a few tricky technical details about that stuff in the contracts so thats basically the gist of it.

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

lightpole posted:

There is also day/night work that goes out of the halls. Ships come in to port and either need people to work during the day, assisting with piston pulls, cleaning, doing whatever maintenance the crew cant handle or need someone to stand watch to cover for the ships engineers. The jobs are usually for 8 hours and pay the OT rate so you can make quite a bit of money but the downside is you are paid the same if you are working holidays or OT. If the ship is late or sails early you are still paid for your 8 hours. There are quite a few tricky technical details about that stuff in the contracts so thats basically the gist of it.

SIU in Canada calls these guys Extras or MUC (Mobile Utility Crew), and just ships them out as crew. They get paid a pretty good rate, tho, a bit above AB / Oiler.

I'm mostly familliar with the other side of union hall hiring, as in putting in job calls, receiving them and seeing them approved. I've seen a few get turned down, it's always hilarious watching the Captain try to come up with a politically correct reason... A Chief Engineer apparently sent one back with "Not this rear end in a top hat, he's an idiot" (Or he wrote "NO ASSHOLES" on the job call, tellings vary), so we had got circular emails about the proper phrasing of union communications...

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J Corp
Oct 16, 2006

I risked hypothermia and broken limbs and all I got was this shitty avatar and a severe case of shrinkage

lightpole posted:

SIU - Sailors something Union

Seafarers International Union.

Miss Fats posted:

So I'm sure this has been asked but I'm going to anyway because I'm stupid and can't be bothered:

Say I got around 10-12 months to kill and I'm looking for something to do to be employed and get the gently caress out of dodge. I'm ok with horrible manual labor because whatever. A 6 month slave ship cruise sounds like it would at least get me out of town. I've never even seen the ocean. Never been on more than a lake boat.

What are my chances of finding a quick job on a ship and how would I go about it?

I'm sure it doesn't matter either but I have a Bachelor of Arts if that helps.

For reference, I've looked into working everywhere from Buddhist monasteries across the country to manual labor at the South Pole Station.

Doing it because 'gently caress it, whatever' is a bad idea. As others have said, it takes a long time to get your documents in the first place. Also, even if you're 'ok with horrible manual labor', working a lovely job you hate 8 hours a day is not even close to working a lovely job you hate everyday for weeks and not being able to get away from it at all.

goku chewbacca posted:

Let's say I'm not interested in going to any more university, but wouldn't object to a couple of years of technical education. On the job would be even better...through a walk-on apprenticeship and then sitting for exams and certifications sounds perfect. How soon can I be making $US60-70k? What does it take to make $100k+? Where does it top out after that? Do the captains get to keep smoking hot wives in every port?
...
Home base for me would be in northeast Pennsylvania, just under 2hours from NYC and Philly. Maybe 5 from Erie. What are the major port cities (for finding jobs) here in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region? How about the eastern Great Lakes?

SIU is the major unlicensed union in the US. Starting from the bottom and working your way up, you can make $60-70k after probably 3 years, maybe slightly longer. It depends on how fast you upgrade and how much you work.

The halls in the part of the US you asked about are Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk VA, and Algonac, MI(almost Detroit). Brooklyn and Norfolk will be the busiest.

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walrusman
Aug 4, 2006



This thread has been a great read so far; thanks!

Out of curiosity, engineery-type guys:

What does the work of an engineer look like?
How do you spend your working time?
Do you have any technical education or experience beyond your respective academies, etc.?
What goes into the curriculum at those academies?

edit: I realized there might not be any specific engineer guys here, so if anyone else has information on this I'd love to hear it. Also more funny crewmember stories, and interesting ports/places you've been.

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lightpole
Jun 4, 2004


walrusman posted:

This thread has been a great read so far; thanks!

Out of curiosity, engineery-type guys:

What does the work of an engineer look like?
How do you spend your working time?
Do you have any technical education or experience beyond your respective academies, etc.?
What goes into the curriculum at those academies?

edit: I realized there might not be any specific engineer guys here, so if anyone else has information on this I'd love to hear it. Also more funny crewmember stories, and interesting ports/places you've been.

Engine department consists of the Chief Enginer, 1st A/E, 2nd A/E, 3rd A/E, an electrician, maybe a refrigeration tech and some kind of utility. Steam ships can vary with maybe another 3rd to stand watch and a couple more utilities.

The utility will take care of most of the cleaning and mundane tasks, turbo washes, clean filters, chip carbon on steam ships or assist an engineer with a task if needed.

The electrician takes care of all the electrical. Motors, breakers, elevators, rebuild contactors that were never supposed to be rebuilt with parts you dont have etc. They also assist with the reefers or take care of them if there is no reefer tech.

Reefer tech watches all the reefer boxes on the ship and takes care of the A/C and chill box aux. equipment.

Engineers: The chief is in charge and usually takes care of paperwork. They let the 1st know what needs to get done.

1st Engineer will direct everyone on maintenance and work with them. 2nd and 3rd usually get their own projects or assist in someone elses project.

On a diesel ship the focus is on maintenance. Diesel is dirty and needs tons of cleaning to burn. The 2nd usually spends most of his time cleaning the purifiers. Filters are pulled frequently as well and cleaned. Hourly maintenance on all equipment is performed, from the purifiers to the air compressors, diesel generators, main engine and whatever else. Ports also need to be prepped for, LO, FO and slops brought on or off, spare equipment, cleaners, whatever might be needed.

Once the routine stuff is done small projects that make your job easier or life a little nicer can be worked on to keep busy.


On a steam ship you get to spend 8 hours staring at gauges. The second 3rd leaves the 1st A/E free for any work that needs to be done.


AMO and MEBA both have technical schools and classes for their members. The AMO school is in Florida and the MEBA school is Calhoun. Engine manufactures and other vendors also provide courses.

The academic curriculum is fairly complete at the academies. I think I graduated with over 120 credits and I wasnt even an ME. You get all the general reqs, which are kind of glossed over since they arent important. The classes in my major went through steam and diesel plants, thermo, fluids, materials and the other theoretical stuff, day work which actually had us working on engines, the cruise portions (8 credits apiece I think it was), all the cadet type stuff you have to do (formation, watchstanding, uniforms) and the USCG exam at the end.

Thats a fair gist of it but I left a lot out so if you have more specific questions Ill be able to go into more detail.


Oh yeah, MFU and SUP have better payscales and union reps.

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Trench_Rat
Sep 19, 2006
Doing my duty for king and coutry since 86

engineer cadet my day goes like this

get up at 05:30 shower and breakfast


go to engine controll room at 06:00 start the daily inspection round refilling oil and cooling water (takes 60 to 90 minutes) then just general work from maintnance system or a large project (like replacing piston rings on a compressor etc)


break from 10:00 to 10:30


more work or continue on project

lunch from 12:00 to 13:00

more work or continue on project

break from 15:00 to 15:30

last 2,5 hours of the day spent cleaning up/washing in the engine room or sorting tools in the workshop

dinner and end of day at 18:00

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FrozenVent
May 1, 2009

The Boeing 737-200QC is the undisputed workhorse of the skies.

I've updated the OP to cover "This would be interesting for a gap year!" and "I'd like a free ticket accross the pond, please!"

If anybody wants to rewrite it with less cyniscm, tell me, but right now I feel the level of hatred is juuuuuust right.

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walrusman
Aug 4, 2006



Thanks for the replies, guys. To clarify where I'm coming from, I'm not looking for a fun diversion or gap year (god I hate that term) bullshit. I'm just sitting on an engineering degree that I can't seem to put to work, and I'm at a phase in my life with few connections and a thirst for -- yeah I'll go ahead and say it -- adventure. I have experience working in close quarters, I get along with everybody, and I find I really like a mix of manual labor and brainy poo poo. What's not to love about a high-demand field that pays you poo poo-heaps of money and then gives you several months off with which to enjoy it?

In reality my pursuit of this field will likely end at reading this thread, but in the meantime I appreciate you putting it up.

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JerkyBunion
Jun 22, 2002



FrozenVent posted:

I've updated the OP to cover "This would be interesting for a gap year!" and "I'd like a free ticket accross the pond, please!"

If anybody wants to rewrite it with less cyniscm, tell me, but right now I feel the level of hatred is juuuuuust right.

You explained it pretty well. Thanks. Guess I won't be going to see (for now!).

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